Sunday, 24 April 2016
The Sealed Knot in Mayfair 1970
Here from the October 1970 issue of Mayfair magazine is an article on the, then, relatively new English Civil War re-enactment society The Sealed Knot. I have reproduced it in full and if you click on the images they should be readable!
The pictures in this article were taken by American photographer Philip O Stearns who was a Sealed Knot member himself. He also took the pictures for my favourite wargaming book The War Game, which dates from the same year.
Philip Olcott Stearns was born in Detroit in February 1917. The rather patrician Stearns attended the private Brooks School, in North Andover Massachusets, and then Princeton, where he was a successful rower. It was during his time at Princeton that he developed an interest in sculpting. He graduated with a degree in art and archaeology. During World War 2 he was based in the UK as a Captain in in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services; the precursor of the CIA) working with the French Resistance for which he was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He was a great collector of model soldiers and was also very involved in the early days of The Sealed Knot; the English Civil War re-enactment organisation. He took the photographs for many books on model soldiers and even wrote his own: How to Make Model Soldiers (1974). He was a successful photographer; taking a cover picture for Sports Illustrated in the 1950s, for example. Another of his books Six Nymphets (1966), is more appropriate to the work he did in the mid sixties and early seventies as Director of Photography for Bob Guccione's Penthouse and, indeed, many other mens' magazines in London, where he lived in a lavish flat in Mayfair. After he left Penthouse he went on to be editor of military history magazine Campaign. He died in February 2000, two days past his 83rd birthday, in Vermont. Interestingly, his death notice (paid for by his family) mentioned his interest in military miniatures and historical societies but didn't mention his photography at all!
Angela nearly reveals her demi-culverins
After Penthouse he moved on to work for Mayfair and took the cover photograph and centrefold pictorial for the very same issue in which the article on the Sealed Knot appears.
Amber Dean Smith wenches it up
He even managed to combine his two interests when he photographed the first ever Penthouse Pet of the Year, Amber Dean Smith (who appeared as Warren Mitchell's girlfriend in Hammer's curious SF western Moon Zero Two (1969)) in a seventeenth century setting and period clothes for Mayfair in 1969.